Cats take over the Lon­don un­der­ground

The Myanmar Times - - The Pulse -

CATS have taken over a Lon­don un­der­ground train sta­tion in a cam­paign to chal­lenge ad­ver­tis­ing norms, at­tract­ing hordes of sight­seers – and leav­ing dog lovers dis­mayed.

Pas­sen­gers trav­el­ling through Clapham Com­mon sta­tion this week have no­ticed some­thing is awry, with dozens of cats peer­ing down from posters which pre­vi­ously dis­played ad­ver­tis­ing.

The Ci­ti­zens Ad­ver­tis­ing Takeover Ser­vice (CATS) pro­ject is the brain­child of Glimpse, a cre­ative col­lec­tive aim­ing for pos­i­tive so­cial change.

James Turner, who founded Glimpse ear­lier this year, said the group chose cats due to their on­line pop­u­lar­ity, and set up a crowd­fund­ing page to pay for the new posters.

More than £23,000 (US$30,000) was raised on the Kick­starter web­site, fund­ing 68 ad­verts at Clapham Com­mon on the Northern Line.

Turner, who works in com­mu­ni­ca­tions, said he was sur­prised by the huge re­sponse to the two-week cam­paign.

“It re­ally has gone global now and we’re just de­lighted to see that. You can see if you walk around the sta­tion to­day, chil­dren smil­ing, peo­ple tak­ing photos on their phones,” he told AFP.

The por­traits are either of cats from shel­ters in need of a home, or those owned by peo­ple who do­nated £100 or more to the pro­ject.

The cam­paign comes three months af­ter Lon­don Mayor Sadiq Khan an­nounced a crack­down on ad­ver­tis­ing on the Tube network, banning posters which pres­sure peo­ple to con­form to an un­re­al­is­tic or un­healthy body shape.

At Clapham Com­mon in south Lon­don, staff from oper­a­tor Trans­port for Lon­don said hun­dreds of peo­ple have vis­ited the sta­tion to take pho­to­graphs of the im­ages, in­clud­ing one group of 25 Chi­nese tourists who trav­elled across Lon­don es­pe­cially.

Anne Brod­er­ick, em­ployed in so­cial work, said the fe­line photos made her re­alise how of­ten peo­ple are ex­posed to ad­ver­tis­ing.

“I’m de­lighted to see Clapham Com­mon has been taken over by cats,” said the 41-year-old, visit­ing from Scot­land.

Her part­ner Dale Meller, 45, said the cam­paign has im­proved the at­mos­phere.

“There’s a feel­ing of hap­pi­ness in the sta­tion. There’s a sense of hu­mour and well­be­ing,” he said.

But not every­one is pleased. In­dia Steel, an 18-year-old restau­rant worker, said she was com­pletely op­posed to the idea.

“I ab­so­lutely hate cats. I de­test them with amaz­ing pas­sion. They seem kind of cute when you see them on posters but in real life I just hate them,” she said.

While aware some peo­ple may pre­fer dogs or have a pho­bia of cats, Turner said over­all the cam­paign has had the de­sired im­pact.

“Peo­ple just think a lit­tle bit dif­fer­ently af­ter see­ing it and won­der if the things that they thought were fixed in the world, like ad­ver­tis­ing, could ac­tu­ally be changed,” he said.

Photo: AFP

Th­ese kit­ties have turned some heads in the Tube network be­low Lon­don.

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